Wekend Recap: Upsets Hit 4 of Computer's Top 8

September 12, 2021 by Staff

Upsets befell half of the computer's top 8 teams, and 5 of the AP's Top 21, on Saturday as Ohio State, USC, Iowa State, Utah, Texas were all shocking losers.  Meanwhile, Texas A&M and Notre Dame, and Miami barely escaped.

82 games took place this week involving 127 of the 130 FBS schools.The only idle programs were UCLA, San Jose State and Louisiana-Monroe.

Oregon finally got its first win vs. Ohio State after coming up short in each of its first 9 tries. Like a lot of things that took place on Saturday, this seemed so unlikely to happen. Oregon struggled to put down Fresno State in its opener while Ohio State won a conference game over a solid Minnesota team. The Buckeyes were a solid 14-point favorite, but never led the game. In fact, after the Ducks went ahead 14-7 in the first quarter, Ohio State never managed to get the score back to a tie. The Congrove Computer Rankings had CollegeFootballPoll.com had this game pegged in the preseason as an Ohio State loss, and only favored Ohio State by 0.12 on game day.

While Oregon was making a name for itself and giving the PAC-12 an opportunity to shine, fellow conference member USC was imploding. The 17.5-point favorites trailed by as much as 42-13 to Stanford and ultimately lost 42-28. The Cardinal had been humiliated 24-7 by Kansas State in their opener while USC had dispatched San Jose State 30-7. But as we noted in our weekly preview, this series has seen more than its fair share of upsets with the underdog taking 6-of-9 from 2007 to 2015. As quickly as Clay Helton seemed to be removed from the hot seat, he finds himself back on it.

Utah also laid an egg as a 26-17 loser at Brigham Young in the 95th edition of the Holy War. The Utes, who had won 9 straight in the series, opened the game with an interception on their first series, a fumble on the second, and a punt on their third. BYU went up 3-0 with over 4 minutes left in the first quarter and led 23-7 going into the final stanza., 

Washington has been another disappointment for the PAC-12. After bowing 13-7 at home to FCS member Montana in the opener, the Huskies went to Michigan and got slapped 31-10. Keep this in mind, though - it's still possible that the Huskies could be undefeated in conference play.

Iowa did its best to boost the Big Ten and take some eyes off the Buckeyes' loss. The Hawkeyes traveled to Ames and captured the Cy-Hawk Trophy for the sixth straight time by downing the Cyclones 27-17 in front of their home crowd. It's the fifth straight home game in the series that Iowa State has lost. The 4.5-point home favorites never led, trailed by as much as 27-10, and went 26:40 without scoring after pulling within 14-10 just before halftime.

We don't know what to say about Texas. the Longhorns headed to Fayetteville to face Arkansas after both teams won their respective opener. The former Big 12 rivals hadn't met since Arkansas whipped Texas 31-7 in the 2014 Texas Bowl. Saturday was deja vu all over again as the Razorbacks laid a 40-21 whipping on their former Southwest Conference rival. Texas was a 6-point favorite and a 9.01-point computer pick. Arkansas has now won 5 of the last 7 meetings. Not only did the Longhorns never lead, they apparently forgot to bring a horse to the starting gate as their first-half possessions went fumble-punt-missed FG-punt-punt-punt.  It was 16-0 before Texas got on the board in the 3rd quarter to make it 16-7, but Arkansas scored the next 17 points to put this one away.

Air Force fired the first salvo in the round-round competition between the military academies for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy by shutting down Navy 23-3. The Falcons have won the last two meetings by a combined scored of 63-10.

UConn's week began with Randy Edsall announcing his resignation to be effective at the end of the regular season. The next day, the administration basically said "leave now'". On Saturday, UConn went out and played like UConn in a 49-0 loss at home to Purdue under interim head coach Lou Spanos. The Huskies have been outscored 94-0 in two games vs. FBS opponents that were sandwiched around the 38-28 loss to FCS member Holy Cross. UConn is 9-42 since 2016 with 4 of those 9 wins wins aqainst FCS teams.


Texas A&M didn't find the end zone in Denver until the 2:41 mark of the final period to pill out a 10-7 win over Colorado at Mile High.

Notre Dame eked-out a 32-29 win over Toledo after trailing twice and facing a 29-24 deficit after the Rockets scored with 1:34 left. But the Irish needed just 3 plays and 26 seconds to retake the lead and win the game.

Miami found out that Appalachian isn't just a decent team from the Sun Belt. The Mountaineers went to Hard Rock Stadium and looked every bit as Miami's equal. The lead changed hands 5 times with the 'Canes having the advantage when the clock struck 0:00 for a 25-23 win.


TCU held off Cal, 34-32, Virginia crushed Illinois 42-14, and Kentucky toppled Mizzou 35-28.

Shane Beamer is off to a 2-0 start as the head coach at South Carolina after his Gamecocks pulled out a 20-17 walk-off win at East Carolina on a 36-yard field goal.

Pittsburgh gave the ACC some redemption versus SEC schools when the Panthers went to Knoxville and downed Tennessee 41-34. NC State could have given the ACC another needed lift, but the Wolfpack went to Starkville and howled at their own shadows in a convincing loss to Mississippi State that started when Lideatrick Griffin returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a Bulldog touchdown and ended in a 24-10 defeat.


2 teams will play 2 FCS teams this fall (UConn and UMass), and 115 teams will play 1 FCS school for a total of 117 such matchups.

There were 37 FBS-FCS games over the weekend and FBS schools went 35-2. Since we began tracking this in 2003, the FBS teams are now 1,536-136 (.919).  Of the two losses, Florida State's 20-17 setback to Jacksonville State was the least expected as the 'Noles nearly won their opener over Notre Dame while the Gamecocks were blanked 31-0 by UAB in their opener. None of that mattered as JSU scored the winning touchdown on a 59-yard walk-off TD pass.

Duquesne delivered the other blow, edging Ohio 28-26.

Last year, 30 FBS teams played a total of just 34 games against FCS schools and the FCS won just 1 game (1-33). That honor also went to Jacksonville State with its 19-10 victory over FIU.

Here are the FCS wins in 2021:
September 2: UC Davis 19, Tusa 17
September 2: Eastern Washington 35, UNLV 33 (2 OT)
September 3: South Dakota State 42, Colorado State 23
September 4: Holy Cross 38, UConn 28
September 4: Montana 13, Washington 7
September 4: ETSU 23, Vanderbilt 3
September 11: Duquesne 28, Ohio 26
September 11: Jacksonville State 20, Florida State 17.

This was the only FCS win vs. the FBS in 2020:
October 23: Jacksonville State 19, FIU 10

In 2019, FBS teams were 111-3 (.974) in such games. These were the only FCS wins that season:
August 29: Central Arkansas 35, Western Kentucky 28
September 7: Southern Illinois 45, Massachusetts 20
September 14: The Citadel 27, Georgia Tech 24 (OT)


ALABAMA - Won 16 straight games overall (FBS longest).
Last: Won 48-14 at home over Mercer (FCS) on Saturday, Sept. 11.
Visits Florida on Saturday, Sept. 18.

OHIO STATE - The Buckeyes had won 22 straight regular season games (FBS longest) before falling 35-28 at home to Oregon on Saturday. Phio State stuill has winning streaks of 22 straight conference games (FBS longest), and 10 straight road games (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 35-28 at home to Oregon on Saturday, Sept. 11.
Hosts Tulsa on Saturday, September 18.

NOTRE DAME - Won 17 straight reagular season games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 32-29 at home over Toledo on Saturday, Sept. 11.
Next: Hosts Purdue on Saturday, Sept. 18.

CLEMSON - Won 28 straight home games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 49-3 at home over South Carolina State (FCS) on Saturday, Sept. 11.
Next: Hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday, September 18.

NEW MEXICO - Lost 13 straight road games (tied with Akron for FBS longest).
Last: Won 34-23 at home over  New Mexico State on Saturday, Sept. 11.
Next: Visits Texas A&M on Saturday, September 18.

AKRON - Lost 13 straight road games (tied with New Mexico for FBS second-longest).
Last: Lost 45-24 at home to Temple on Saturday, Sept. 11.
Next: Hosts Bryant (FCS) on Saturday, September 18.

KANSAS - Lost 14 straight to FBS schools (tied with Arizona for FBS longest).
Last: Lost 49-22 at Coastal Carolina on Saturday, September 11.
Next: Hosts Baylor on Saturday, September 18.

ARIZONA - Lost 14 straight over-all (FBS longest), and 14 straigth to FBS schools (tied with Kansas for FBS longest)..
Last: 38-14 at home to San Diego State on Saturday, Sept. 11.
Next: Hosts Northern Arizona (FCS) on Saturday, September 18.

UTEP - Lost 15 straight conference games (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 54-13 at Boise State on Friday, Sept. 10.
Next: Hosts New Mexico on Saturday, September 25.